Friday, March 19, 2004

MORE TIME IN CHILD CUSTODY CASE

Childers delays case of Chinese toddler another three weeks.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 19, 2004 at 4:00 AM

Litigants in the custody case of a 5-year-old Chinese girl were back in court Friday, with the plaintiffs’ attorneys asking for more time to prepare their closing arguments, which were scheduled to begin on Monday, March 22. Presiding judge Robert Childers granted a three-week extension, allowing lawyers for all parties until April 12 to prepare their statements. However, Childers will hear arguments on pending motions on Monday, as scheduled. Testimony in the case ended on March 2. During the trial Childers heard testimony from the biological parents, Jack and Casey He, as well as from the custodial parents, Jerry and Louise Baker. At issue is their permanent custody of Anna Mae He, who was voluntarily placed in foster care by the Hes. The Bakers, who have had custody of the child since she was 3 weeks old, say the Hes failed to visit or provide support for their daughter during a four-month period, and should therefore have their parental rights terminated. The Hes say they placed Anna Mae in the Bakers’ care with the understanding that the agreement was temporary and that they would get her back. At the end of the trial, both sides had initially agreed that the time allotted for closing arguments was adequate. But Linda Holmes, attorney for the child’s guardian, and Larry Parrish, the Bakers’ attorney, filed a motion for the additional time after more information became available Wednesday. Holmes detailed seven motions pending before the court, including expulsion of testimony by four expert witnesses heard during the case, and reported her request to reopen the case by submitting affidavits of additional information from two of her witnesses. She said Parrish and guardian Kim Mullins recalled a "no contact" order initiated by the initial judge in the case, D.J. Alissandratos, barring the Hes from interaction with Anna Mae. "There were statements made in the testimony that the order had been drawn up sort of in secret by myself and the judge. But I went back and checked notes made by my paralegal that involve a phone conversation with [all parties, including the Hes’ attorney] that clearly show that the origin of the order started there." The Hes, who had previously been accused by Parrish of delaying proceedings in the case, were disappointed with the judge’s decision. "Today [the plaintiffs’ attorneys] are trying to find an excuse to avoid responsibility and come up with something to keep us away from our daughter. This is just another trick by them," said Mr. He. "Our clients are extremely frustrated and this delay only works against them," said the Hes’ attorney Richard Gordon. As for reopening the case for additional testimony, neither Gordon nor his partner in the case David Siegel, believed anything in the record warranted such an action. "We’ve got too many hours in this to rush to an ending," said Parrish. "No stay [of the case] has been issued. This is just a request for more time." Along with Holmes’ pending motions, Siegel and Gordon have additional pending motions for their side, include a motion to dismiss the entire case against their clients. "I was ready to make my closing statements at 8 on the night that the testimony ended," said Siegel. Lawyers will also be required to complete their conclusion of law and findings of fact summaries a week prior to the April date. Childres has 30 days after closing arguments to rule in the case.

Friday, March 5, 2004

FULMER'S RECORDS SUBJECT TO SUBPOENA

Judge grants right to Logan Young's legal team.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 5, 2004 at 4:00 AM

A federal judge has granted football booster Logan Young the right to subpoena materials from University of Tennessee football coach Philip Fulmer and the NCAA about the NCAA investigation of Young. U.S. Magistrate Judge Diane Vescovo denied the government’s request to keep the materials from Young and his attorneys. Young, a wealthy Memphis businessman, faces trial May 3rd on charges of conspiracy and hiding bank withdrawals the government believes were used to pay $150,000 to former high school football coach Lynn Lang to send star lineman Albert Means to Alabama. Fulmer and the NCAA have until April 2nd to produce the materials. Young’s attorneys believe the government’s case closely tracks the NCAA investigation of Young and the Alabama football program. The materials focus on interviews with Tom Culpepper, an Alabama booster who may be called as a witness by the government. Fulmer secretly taped 90 minutes of a meeting he had with Culpepper. Fulmer’s role as a confidential source for the NCAA against Alabama came out earlier this year. The defense has indicated it may call Fulmer as a witness and needs his notes and tapes to “refresh his recollection,” according to court filings. The NCAA materials include records of at least six meetings with Lang’s assistant, Milton Kirk, according to court papers. Lang and Kirk have pleaded guilty. Lang has not been sentenced and is expected to testify at Young’s trial for the government. Fulmer and the NCAA are not parties to the case.
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